What lens to get for your Sony a6500?
Released at the end of 2016, the Sony a6500 (see on Amazon.com) succeeds the Sony a6300 less than a year later. It keeps the same 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor, 4K video mode, an electronic viewfinder with a definition of 2360,000 points and an unchanged look with a few buttons.
On the other hand, it has a new processor, a touch screen (finally!) and above all it’s equipped with 5-axis stabilization to avoid blurry images and videos that tremble blurry because of hand movements. The Alpha 6500 also has new menus, a little less messy than previous Sony hybrids.
In short, it has a lot of interesting features, we just regret that it’s not tropicalized, that it does not have a headphone jack and that the autonomy, identical to the Sony a6300, is still as weak. In video, we also notice a lot of rolling shutter, and its price is quite high is not really justified when we see the difference with the Sony a6300.
Besides that it’s really a very good compact and light hybrid device (50g more than the Sony a6300), which allows you to make great images and videos.
Here is a selection of the best lenses compatible with the Sony a6500 to help you choose the lens you need, whether for travel, portrait or landscape photography.
Please leave a comment if you have enough suggestions or ideas to improve this list!
Note: Product links in this article lead to Amazon.com
- Sony 18-105 mm f/4 OSS (SELP18105G)
- Sony 50mm f/1.8 OSS (SEL50F18)
- Sigma 60mm f/2.8 DN ART
- Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary
- Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 (SEL85F18)
- Sony 35mm f/1.8 OSS (SEL35F18)
- Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary
- Sony 10-18mm f/4 (SEL1018)
- Sony 30mm f/3.5 (SEL30M35)
- Sony 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS (SEL55210)
- Comparative table
- Useful accessories
The 18-105mm f/4 is far from being a lightweight, but if you want to do without several lenses when travelling, for example, it’s one of the most versatile lenses available for the Sony a6500, with a fairly wide focal range that ranges from wide angle to zoom. Its advantages: it has integrated optical stabilization and the zoom is done internally (i.e. it does not extend when zooming), which is convenient if you want to put your camera on a camera pod to film. Small reproach: when you turn off your camera, the lens goes back to 18mm and does not stay at the last focal length used.
Even if the image quality is very good, don’t expect photos to be as sharp and with a background blur as beautiful as a fixed focal length that will have a larger aperture (quite a bit of distortion at 105mm). That said, it offers great video performance and if that’s the main use you’ll make of it, for example for vlogging, you’ll be happy with it (a little heavy at arm’s length though!).
In short, if you’re looking for a versatile lens for your Sony a6500, this 18-105mm is the one for you.
One of the best lenses available for the Sony a6500. It offers very sharp images with a superb background blur, even in low light. The focal length is quite difficult to use indoors but outdoors it’s very practical. Among the advantages: it’s light and compact, it does not cost too much, it has integrated optical stabilization, it has a super autofocus that is both fast and silent, and it offers a simply superb image rendering, with a super sharp focus.
In short, with this kind of lens we can see the difference in terms of quality with the basic kit. Simply a must-have if you have a Sony a6500 and want to do a portrait (if ever the portrait photo is not the type of preference, the 35mm from Sony is a little more versatile and offers a similar image quality).
If you have a small budget to spend on your Sony a6500 and you want to take a portrait photo, this Sigma 60mm f/2.8 is for you! Light and compact, it delivers images with a top sharpness (it’s one of the sharpest lenses in this selection). The f/2.8 aperture allows shooting in low light, although it does not offer as many possibilities as with the Sony 50mm f/1.8.
That said, I don’t have much to blame him for… given its price it’s really a good lens, which can also be used to make close-ups on a landscape, for example. Note that when you switch it over you can hear a noise as if something had come off inside, I reassure you it’s quite normal (it’s the autofocus engine)! In short, it’s a very good value for money that perfectly complements the Sony a6500.
In terms of image sharpness, this 30mm f/1.4 is just excellent. When it was released, it was rewarded on the DXomark website as the clearest E-mount lens available. Compared to the Sony 35mm f/1.8, it offers more stitching but also more beautiful colours. 30mm is a little wider, so we have a more versatile focal length, and the f/1.4 aperture lets in even more light and produces a bokeh even more beautiful than the 35mm one, if we ever want to do a portrait. It’s also a little cheaper than Sony’s 35mm (but 100g heavier and more bulky).
It’s not stabilized, but this is not a problem on the a6500 which has integrated 5-axis stabilization. At its release there were some autofocus problems but these were fixed by Sigma with an update of the lens firmware. Despite this, the Sony 35mm’s autofocus is a little more responsive and fast, especially when it comes to close-up shots. This Sigma 30mm f/1.4 remains one of the best lenses to own for your Sony a6500.
A lens optimized for Sony full-format lenses but which works perfectly on a Sony a6500: the focal length then gives the equivalent of a 130mm on a Sony a6500, which is especially suitable for outdoor use. In indoor photography, you may have difficulty framing to make a portrait. The important thing to remember is that the images delivered by this lens are simply beautiful and that it’s much better for portrait photography than the Sony 50mm (but it costs much more).
It’s not stabilized but this is not a problem on a Sony a6500 that has 5-axis optical stabilization. For an 85mm it’s relatively light, even if it’s a cumbersome hair. The front glass is quite wide but it’s easy to take in hand to make portraits. And it’s tropicalized!
One of the best lenses to take a portrait with the Sony a6500, which you can also keep if you want to switch to a full-format camera.
Both compact and lightweight, with a super fast, silent, precise, stabilized focusing system… in short, you will have understood it, it’s an excellent lens!
Its 35mm focal length is relatively versatile and the f/1.8 aperture allows it to be used in low light for portraiture, street photography… and it’s also great for video. Simply one of the best lenses for the Sony a6500 (a little expensive though).
Of all the lenses compatible with the Sony a6500, it’s one of the sharpest. Sigma did a crazy job designing this 16mm f/1.4: the autofocus is fast and accurate, the color rendering is superb, and the images are sharp from one corner of the photo to the other.
The 16mm focal length is wide enough to make a wide angle, and it’s also suitable for landscape or real estate photography, but also in other situations (astrophotography for example). The opening of f/1.4 gives a beautiful background blur.
It’s also well built and easy to use. A disadvantage to note: the autofocus makes a slight noise, which can be heard in the sound picked up by the camera or a microphone, which can be annoying if you plan to use it for vlogging. Apart from that, it’s a lens that offers exceptional performance.
Here is a surprisingly light wide angle given its size, compact and therefore easy to take on a trip, with a fixed opening of f/4. The focal length range of 10-18mm is very useful for vlogging, especially since it’s stabilized, or for architectural photography, for example.
Let’s move on to the negative points: some copies are bad and have a rather weak piqué. Remember to check the sharpness of the image in the first few days of your purchase, and ask for another copy if it’s defective! The fault lies with Sony, which did not carry out the necessary quality control. At the high price at which it’s sold, it’s rather… annoying. Finally, a rather curious little thing, without being problematic, is that it lengthens by almost 1cm when you are at 10mm, and retracts when you go to 18mm.
Another wide-angle option, if manual focusing does not bother you, is the Rokinon-Samyang 12mm f/2 (see on Amazon.com). It costs three times less than the 10-18mm but the sharpness is much better. But overall, the 10-18mm f/4 remains a very good wide angle for the Sony a6500 provided you get a good copy!
This is one of the very first E-mount lenses built by Sony, mainly intended for those who would like to take macro photography with their Sony a6500: The minimum focusing distance of 9.5cm allows you to get quite close to the subject and allows you to photograph tiny and static subjects like coins, jewellery or watches for example (insects and flowers move at the slightest gust of wind, on the other hand). It’s also widely used for portraiture, although it’s not its main use.
It’s above all the lightest lens on this list and also one of the cheapest. Even if the opening is only f/3.5, you still get a nice bokeh and that’s not really a problem unless you want to take pictures in dark places. Autofocus is not as fast as 35mm or 50mm, but it does the job. It’s not stabilized and you have to hold it well in your hand not to move a bit (thanks to the 5-axis stabilization of the Sony a6500). In short, a rather fun lens to use, which I recommend if you want to try the macro.
This is the lens to have to take pictures from a distance. Admittedly, the opening is not incredible and it will not be necessary to try to use it in low light, but in the middle of the day and with enough sun it offers really correct results. On the positive side, it’s stabilized and therefore allows you to shoot freehand, and its quality of construction is strong enough to carry it everywhere you go. The focal length from 55 to 210mm is versatile and offers a lot of possibilities if you are creative.
In summary it’s a good zoom for the Sony a6500. Certainly it does not produce as beautiful images as with a fixed focal length and the rendering is better at 55mm than at 210mm, but its focal length is really practical if you want to photograph subjects from a distance. And it’s sold at a very affordable price.
All the lenses compatible with the Sony a6500 mentioned on this page are gathered in this comparative table to help you make your choice. You can compare them based on price, weight and utility to see which one is best for you. Prices change regularly, it’s up to you to jump on the right deals!
|Sigma 60mm f/2.8 DN ART||$$$$$||190 g||f/2.8||portrait|
|Sony Macro 30mm f/3.5 (SEL30M35)||$$$$$||138 g||f/3.5||macro|
|Sony 50mm f/1.8 OSS (SEL50F18)||$$$$$||202 g||f/1.4||portrait|
|Sony 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS (SEL55210)||$$$$$||345 g||f/4.5-6.3||zoom|
|Samyang (Rokinon) 12mm f/2||$$$$$||200g||f/2||wide angle|
|Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary||$$$$$||265 g||f/1.4||street photography|
|Sony 35mm f/1.8 OSS (SEL35F18)||$$$$$||154 g||f/2.8||street photography|
|Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary||$$$$$||405 g||f/1.4||wide angle|
|Sony 18-105 mm f/4 OSS (SELP18105G)||$$$$$||225 g||f/4||all-in-one (travel)|
|Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 (SEL85F18)||$$$$$||371 g||f/1.8||portrait|
|Sony 10-18mm f/4 (SEL1018)||$$$$$||225 g||f/4||wide angle|